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Traywick, grandkids, bring on the blues

Rusty Traywick brought the blues  along with granddaughter Gabby, 11; and grandson (and harmonica player) Krash, 10 + with him while stopping by Studio Blanket/Tent Fort for this week's edition of "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist. 

If you tuned in, you heard a song that rings true for many, "Ain't Got A Penny," that featured a harp duel between the DJ and Krash, along with Traywick's smooth acoustic guitar licks and singing. The jam session that followed  and that you'll hear in some upcoming Mix Tape show  was filled with some amazing renditions of numbers by Robert Johnson, Bo Diddley and more. 

The blues run through Traywick and have since he was 16. Sure, he got his first guitar at 11, but it was the primal voice of some real bluesmen that sucked him in. That voice still drives him 45 good years later. "I heard Elmore James and that was it, and I loved it," he said. "It's been a pretty good run."

Forming the first band in high school, The Potterson Co. Blues Band, the stage called Traywick to stay in its spotlight. Several decades later, it calls louder. In the 1990s, he met a group of musicians at an Oklahoma Blues Society Meeting and from it, Crosstown Blues Band was formed. With that ensemble, he shined on stages across the country and opened for Clarence Carter in Lawton. 

But to sing the blues, sometimes you have to live them. Traywick said a bandmate's deceit led to his leaving. Thieving makes for a great story but it's tough to live with, he said. Although he's not one of the armed "gunslinger" bluesmen, he said he's met enough who maintained a balance by being armed to make sure they got paid.

"Those old blues guys, a lot of them would carry a piece," Traywick said. "They'd cut you or shoot you if they caught someone stealing from them."

Traywick made enough of a name for himself that he used it with the next band. Promoters would first try to book him and the old band. He said he'd sell them on his new group with an easy question: "You want the name or do you want the sound?" In an act of ultimate trolling in the pre-internet years, Traywick's band toured behind the former band and would earn return gigs. The other band folded soon after, he said. 

The road has given Traywick some great stories. From opening for Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Bo Diddley at the 23rd Street Blues Festival in Oklahoma City to preceding John Mayall's band and The Fabulous Thunderbirds at the Bricktown Blues Festival, he's held his own with stars. In Medicine Park, he's shone brightly at a few Blues Balls. For a couple of years, he was a Sunday staple as a Usual Suspect with Rusty Green at the Medicine Park Winery. Following a recent sweet, week-long stint at the Apache Casino Hotel, he said he's ready for things to gain steam. 

Now, Traywick is writing his second album in preparation for tracking it at Cloud 9 Studio in Lubbock, Texas. Owned and operated by members of Buddy Holly's family, Traywick said they are some of the most talented and nicest people in the world. His label boss, Marsha Storm at Red Storm Records out of Tulsa, wants an album of all original material, including re-recording of a couple of original songs from his first album, "Waited So Long To Love You." He's taking his sound beyond the blues to include some ballads and love songs. It's getting the ideas from brain to paper that's taking time.

"Trying to write, a lot of times I get an idea but just can't stop to write," Traywick said. "But I have them all in my head, words and music."

It works. The original recording of "Ain't Got A Penny" arrived when another song was needed in the studio for his first recording. He used the studio's acoustic guitar and, later, punched in some slide guitar over it, but did it all in one go. Mojo happens on the fly. 

"I'd never played it before but I had it in my head," Traywick said. "One take, 'Boom!' That was fun."

The new album should be ready by the end of spring, Traywick said. The record company plans to send him to London, England, after its release. He said he has some refined Oklahoma clothes, his Fender Stratocaster and Fender tube amplifier at the ready. "They love American blues bands there," Traywick said. 

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If you're in the mood for a lover's day serenade, Richard Clift Jr. will be crooning at his best from 7 to 9 p.m. Valentine's Day on Thursday at Salas Urban Cantina, 247 E. Gore. 

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Big opportunities keep erupting for Ciera MacKenzie. The Cache native is making Nashville, Tenn., her home base and, with some big fans behind her, you could say things are going super. So super, in fact, that she was the main performer at the FedEx NFL Super Bowl Pre Game Party in Minneapolis, Minn., last Sunday night. 

The invite-only audience of NFL stars and executives who attended were treated to a two-hour set from the teenaged rising star. Her dad, Danny Crain, said she did not disappoint the packed house. The owner of the venue gave her a standing ovation and invitation to play anytime she is in the Minneapolis area and the crowd reaction was "overwhelming," he said. 

MacKenzie called the show "fantastic" and said it was "a great experience."

"The Super Bowl activities are crazy cool," MacKenzie said. "We only had a few days to enjoy them since I was doing a quick radio tour, and school performances in Ohio leading up to the game. I had a blast, and it was a huge event for me." 

Although the temperature was frigid the whole time, MacKenzie said the city was alive with ice sculptures, snowmobile jumping, sledding, ice skating, NFL activities, and band performances all week out in the cold. She credited her sponsors for lining up such a great experience: Bose, Killer-Q and Dean Guitars.

MacKenzie said she'll be returning to Studio Blanket/Tent Fort for the radio show upon return to Southwest Oklahoma. But right now, she's en route to warmer climates this weekend.

"I am playing a Carnival Cruise Ship to Aruba," MacKenzie said. "I am really looking forward to that after spending a few days in sub-zero weather."

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Thursday marks the return of Big Pete Piehnik's Open Mic Night, now at Mi Familia Mexican Restaurant, 111 W. Lee. The open showcase for local musical talent will be 7 p.m. the first and third Thursday of every month and Feb. 15 is the inaugural show. Piehnik credited Magic 95.3 FM's Indie Michaels with helping get it set up. 

"I am so appreciative of both Mi Familia Mexican Restaurant and Indie Michaels for finding a new home for the Open Mic Night," Piehnik said. "I think it's very important for our music and entertainment community, both for emerging artists and established ones. It's a place for musicians to showcase their talent, for acts to try out new types of material without the pressure of having to produce for an actual gig, a relaxed and comfortable environment where folks can get the experience of performing for an audience."

Piehnik said he thinks it's an "outstanding move" by the restaurant to reach out and support the Lawton music community and, in turn, for "the Lawton music community to support their business." 

"Things like this make our community a better one because families and people of all ages can experience the magic of enjoying live music and a night out in a relaxed, friendly, intimate atmosphere," Piehnik said. "A whole lot of musicians and enthusiasts that were regulars at the Open Mic Night were left with a void when the Percolator came to an end, and have been hoping for something new to come along."

The affable bluesman said his job is simple: to make sure the artists are comfortable and are equipped to sound their best while providing an environment of camaraderie where musicians can exchange ideas and support each other.

"I hope that the public takes advantage of the opportunity to see the talent in our area, if we want a solid talent base in the Lawton music community, we have to foster and support it," Piehnik said. "I would also ask the folks that own businesses that are thinking of joining the growing number of live music venues in the area to come discover the talent that is ready and eager to work for them."

Piehnik added that "nothing would please me more than hearing people boast about an act saying, 'Yeah, I heard them at Mi Familia at the Open Mic Night.'"

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Rusty Traywick's visit this week to Studio Blanket/Tent Fort for "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Carr and the columnist, was a lot of fun. There were so many stories about interacting with some real blues legends. 

In honor of the new "Star Wars" movie trailer for "Solo," Jokey McJokerson went to Hoth and back for this week's joke. Here's the punchline:

"Lukewarm."

Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 9:25 a.m. each Thursday (if not much earlier) or stream the half-hour show online: http://s1.phx.icastcenter.com/start/kmgz953/ or www.onlineradiobox.com; or on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: http://www.kmgz.com/. 

#Sundaymonium  Remember that every Sunday night you can listen to a rebroadcast of the prior week's show followed by this week's show: 6 p.m., First Mix Tape of 2018; 6:30 p.m., Rusty Traywick. 

Visit, "like" ("love") and follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/steveoandthescribe/.The two-part video slideshow with audio from the first all-performance episode, along with the very first episode, are found in the "Video" folder.

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